Lemon Cauliflower Rice – A Pegan Twist to the South Indian Classic

South Indian Classic Lemon Rice with a twist – presenting the Lemon Cauliflower Rice. Pegan Recipe.

Lemon Cauliflower Rice – A Pegan Twist to the South Indian Classic

Starting the week with a question – Do you struggle to follow a diet and give up mid way? Bored of consuming Raw Salads for dinner? Looking for new recipes or new ideas to consume vegetarian, plant based meals, gluten free, diabetic friendly, pegan (paleo and vegan)? Look no more!

Today, I share with you a fantastic recipe of the South Indian Classic Lemon Rice with a twist – presenting the Lemon Cauliflower Rice. Absolutely NO Rice but tastes amazing with the lemon zing, roasted nuts and aromatic curry leaves.

Pegan Cauliflower Rice Recipe

We absolutely don’t believe in dieting and only believe in eating right which means coming up with tasty and healthier ways to improve your everyday food.

Being South Indians, we adore Rice and while we have given up eating grains for dinner (which shows amazing results on the weighing scale by the way). I am always thinking about coming up with ideas to make our dinner interesting and healthy so that we are not tempted to go back to carb loading.

The Lemon Cauliflower Rice would be suitable for consumption for all age groups, dieting or not. It can be made with very little prep work and ingredients that are mostly available in your refrigerator. All you need is 10 minutes of steaming the cauliflowers, finely chopping them (for the rice texture) and sauteing in the pan with nuts, curry leaves etc with a grand finale of the generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Gluten free, diabetic recipe lunch or dinner meal Cauliflower Rice recipe made under 30 minutes

As mentioned above, this recipe of Lemon Cauliflower Rice falls under the Pegan Diet. Pegan is Paleo + Vegan. The Diet was first introduced by Dr. Mark Hyman in the year 2015. The Pegan Diet lays strong emphasizes on plant based food, clean eating by incorporating vegetables, fruits and salads as much as 75% of your daily intake. No dairy and limiting the amount of protein used. Good fats in the form of nuts (except peanuts) and avoiding sugar and processed food at all costs. Sounds interesting. Read here for more information on the Pegan Diet.

Happy that I shared this recipe with you today? Well then let’s look at the recipe in detail with step by step pictures and make a batch of this healthy Lemon Cauliflower Rice today for the entire family. Do not Diet – Live to Eat!

Taking this Lemon Cauliflower Rice to the #184FoodieMondayBlogHop where the theme this week is PeganDiet as suggested by Veena Krishna Kumar who blogs at Veena’s Veg Nation. Please check her space for some traditional south Indian recipes, recent recipes using the Nutripot, Instapot etc.

Disclaimer – Please note that I am no expert in Pegan Diet nor a certified Dietitian. All the information processed here is from extensive reading, source of which is marked. Before incorporating any new diet, it is mandatory to check with your General Physician who is aware of your health history etc.

Looking for some more healthy plant based recipes – Do check out Mediterranean Chickpea salad with Amaranth Couscous, Quick Carrot Salad and Khamang Kakdi (Cucumber Peanut Salads). Please note these recipes are not PEGAN.

Recipe for Lemon Cauliflower Rice

Prep Time – 10 minutes

Cook time – 15 to 20 minutes

1 cup is 200 ml measurement

Serves 2 (small portion)


  • 2 cups of Cauliflower Florets
  • 1 tblsp Olive Oil
  • 1 whole red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp chana dal
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 4 to 5 nos. Cashews roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Juice of 1 medium size lemon
  • Few sprigs of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste


(1) Wash, Cut the cauliflower into florets and place them in the steamer.

(2) Steam the cauliflower florets for 8 to 10 minutes.

(3) Cool, finely chop them and keep aside.

(4) Heat a kadhai, add oil and mustard seeds. Allow it to crackle.

(5) Now add whole red chillies, chana dal, cashews and curry leaves. Saute them until the cashews and chana dal have roasted well.

(6) Now add the turmeric powder and mix well.

(7) Add the finely chopped cauliflower and some salt to taste. Mix well.

(8) Cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes and then switch off the gas flame.

(9) Squeeze lemon juice, mix well and serve piping hot.

Recipe Notes

  • The traditional Lemon Rice has peanuts but since Pegan Diet doesn’t allow it I have excluded the same and added cashews. The same is the case for Asafoetida or hing, which is not used in this recipe.
  • I have opted the steaming technique as it just softens the cauliflower, doesn’t allow over cooking and gives that soft texture, similar to that of rice.
  • We generally consume this at home with some salad on the side. You can however, serve it with curd, curry and/or dal too (if not following a pegan diet).

Views: 1909

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Sounds delicious vidya. I tried making cauliflower rice once but failed miserably but this lemony rice sounds awesome. I think the flavour are what even the girls will enjoy. I certainly realise us south Indian giving up rice is difficult. Kudos girl.

    1. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome and we loved it for dinner. My husband now insists on making this often. For us, lemon rice is prasad, lunch, dinner and much more and now with this recipe, atleast I can limit my carb intake. Hope the girls love it.

    1. Thanks Megala!

  2. Wonderful recipe! Does the typical cauliflower taste disappear after tempering & sauteeing?

    1. We love cauliflower at home so it was very easy for us to like this.

  3. Wowww… that’s an awesome rice dish we make lemon rice but never tried with Gobi… sounds too good n tempting

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by. Yes, the rice one is tempting but the cauliflower version is low in calories so much healthier and believe it or not, very tasty too.

  4. That’s a nice variation and a good one for lunch boxes as well!

    1. Absolutely. I agree. Thank you Nisha.

  5. I like this unique rice combination, never thought this way, would love to try..

    1. It is not actually rice but only cauliflower used in lieu of rice. We loved it. Do try. Thanks.

      1. Sure, I would love to give it a try.!!!

    1. thank you

  6. Lemon rice is one of my most favourite things ever, a huge hit at home with the bub and the husband. Kudos to you for coming up with this pegan twist to a South Indian classic! It surely looks wholesome and delicious.

    1. Thank you Priya and glad you liked the twist.

  7. Love the twist to the traditional recipe Vidya. I am sure it tasted absolutely delish. Lemon cauliflower rice is so healthy and nutritious and also quick to make. Fantastic twist.

    1. Glad you liked it Preethi.

  8. I love the flavors of lemon rice and using the same with cauliflower rice is brilliant idea Vidya ! Would try your version soon.

    1. thank you Poonam. It was indeed refreshing.

  9. Lemon Cauliflower rice sounds an interesting option to lemon rice for those who want to limit their rice intake. Since I was a kid my mom made this grated cauliflower in onion tomato masala with peas in it, never knew it will be known as cauliflower rice:) Love the vibrant yellow color of the dish.. Lovely share!!

    1. Swaty, thanks a bunch. Your mom’s addition of peas and onion tomato masala sounds yum and Swaty, all the lost food trends are coming back! hold on to those recipes, I say! haha.

      1. True Vidya.. we are going back to our roots!!😃

      2. amen to that Swaty!

  10. Lemon cauliflower rice looks so inviting. Delicious, flavourful, filling but no calories. Perfect recipe for weight watchers. I love lemon rice. Now I would love to try this lemony cauliflower.

    1. Thank you!

  11. Now this is one cauliflower rice dish I have to make. Why didn’t I think of it before, making my favorite lemon rice into this healthy version.A perfect packed with flavors pegan diet meal.

    1. thanks Mayuri, glad you liked it.

  12. Wow!!Never expected a south indian twist to the regular cauliflower rice. Looks too good vidya and am loving this recipe. Bookmarked

    1. Thank you Veena! Food should always be cooked keeping in mind your palate too, irrespective of the diet you follow. That way, family members are always happy to welcome new varieties.

  13. Love this pegan twist to lemon rice 🙂 You have so perfectly made the dish and the use of cashews in place of peanuts surely balance the taste ! Much nutritious and healthy this is 🙂

    1. Hi Sasmita, The use of cashews instead of peanuts is simply because its a pegan recipe and peanuts are not encouraged in the particular diet. We loved this dish at home. Thanks so much.

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